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The Muslim Congress (TMC) has thrown its weight behind the recent adjustment to the police uniform by the Inspector General of Police (IGP) in Nigeria.
The new dress code now allowed women police officers to wear headscarf under their berets or peak caps.
The IGP approval came during the unveiling of the new dress code by the IGP at the Strategic Police Management meeting on March 3, 2022.
The IGP was reported to have said that the Nigeria Police workforce has officers from every local government area with varying ethnic and religious backgrounds, thus warranting the need for increased inclusion of female folks, gender mainstreaming, and diversity for optimum output and professionalism.
According to a statement by the Waali of TMC in Ogun State, Dr Abdulrazaq Ogunmoye, said the decision is consistent with equity, fairness and in accordance what Islam sanctioned and global best practices. It is unconstitutional to discriminate against Muslim women and deny them the rights to join the police force because of their religious belief.
The statement read “The holy Quran, in chapters 24, verses 31, 39 and 59, Allah commanded Muslim women to cast down their glances and guard their private parts by being chaste and for identity and respect. It is instructive to state that the 1999 constitution of Nigeria identify with the commandment of Allah.
“For emphasis, the use of hijab by Muslim women is in line with right to freedom of religion as prescribed under section 38(1) and freedom against discrimination as contained in section 42 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Despite the police not mentioning hijab, Muslims and Islam when it released the guidelines, undue criticism from few Nigerians keep rationalizing when all Nigerians who work and have anything to do with public institutions must appear “half naked” in line with self-imposed rules on minimum acceptable ways in which people must dress in public places or institutions.
“The negative criticism is understandable as Islamphobia has been built into the subconscious minds of some non-Muslims who criticize anything with attached to Islam.
“The approved new dress code for women officers will address issue of marginalization whereby Hijab wearing female Muslims willing to join the police force could not achieve their dream because of this.
“This is the more reason why female Muslims must be allowed to use hijab on all occasions – official, unofficial, public or private places as they deem fit and in accordance with their doctrine.
“The socialisation process, especially the media, contributed a lot to mutual suspicion and distrust among adherent of different religions in Nigeria.
Nigerian Atheists, Christians and Traditionalists must come to term with the fact that hijab is not a ceremonial, event-fitted and occasional attire. Muslim who put them on does that on daily basis not only during festivals, religious activities or special occasions.
“We commend the leadership of the Nigerian Police for allowing reason to prevail and permit Muslim women who have been denied opportunity to join the police force will now have the opportunity to do so. And we also appeal to other government parastatals to emulate the Nigeria Police in line with global best practice.